A months-long construction project that included a full, colorful overhaul of the playground and other facilities at Freshwater Park will be unveiled to the public on Friday, June 7. When the park re-opens, children of all abilities will be able to use the playground, which has been replaced with equipment that is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. This will be the first fully inclusive playground in the county park system.
The public is invited to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 7, at 10:30 a.m. at the Freshwater Park Playground to experience the improvements. The park is located at 3100 Freshwater Road, Freshwater.
“It’s encouraging to see the county’s first inclusive playground at Freshwater Park as part of our efforts to make this important facility fully ADA accessible,” said Mike Wilson, 3rd District Supervisor. “The new playground will provide a place for children of all ages and abilities to enjoy and is a good example of the county’s renewed commitment to ensuring that our programs, services and activities are accessible to all.”
The project began in the fall of 2017 and incorporated community input, as well as ADA standards. The playground closed in December of 2018 when construction began. While the playground was a large piece of this project, there was much more work done to improve access at the entire park.
The construction project includes creating accessible routes to park amenities, including picnic areas, the volleyball court, and other locations throughout the park. The unisex restrooms on the lower level of the park were remodeled to include proper maneuvering clearance, accessible sinks, signage and stall-related equipment. In addition, the playground area underwent a transformation with the installation of new inclusive playground equipment and poured rubber surfacing.
Playground equipment and colors were chosen based on a study conducted as part of the Freshwater County Playground Renovation Project, in December 2014. This project study based its evaluation on a focus group of 2nd and 3rd grade students and parents at Garfield School in Freshwater, as well as park visitors. In addition, the survey included neighbors along Freshwater Road and one-on-one interviews with parkgoers at the existing playground and Arcata Farmers Market.
The study concluded children ages 6-8 enjoyed structures that are unique and complex, and those that challenge their balance, imagination, and skill level. Community input indicated that the playground equipment should incorporate green and yellow as the preferred colors. Staff reviewed the findings in the report and took into consideration budgetary constraints to determine the number of large and small features for small children, school-age children as well as amenities that include accessible and inclusive features. Staff then consulted with Ross Recreation, a partner of Landscape Structures, Inc., to design and install the county’s first inclusive playground at Freshwater Park.
Due to the detailed nature of inclusive playground equipment, the county contracted with Landscape Structures, Inc. for the construction of the play area and rubber surfacing, and Adam’s Commercial General Contracting, Inc. for the park’s site work. Ross Recreation, a partner of Landscape Structures, Inc. designed and installed the playground equipment. KPA Group designed the overall ADA improvements at the park.
The cost for the new playground and poured-in-place impact attenuating (rubber) surfacing was $196,925. The design, concrete work, accessible parking stalls, drinking fountains, restroom modifications, BBQ grills and new accessible picnic tables were $209,475 for a total project cost of $406,400. Learn more at the Freshwater Park web page.
This project is one of many included in the county’s consent decree with the Department of Justice to bring Humboldt County facilities up to compliance with ADA standards. For more information on ADA improvements being done at the county please visit our website. You can also contact our ADA Compliance Team at 844-365-0352 or ADA@co.humboldt.ca.us.
Photos of the improvements at the park are below:
Freshwater Park's ADA-accessible park is shown with slide and climbing feature.
Freshwater Park features an accessible drinking fountain.
A playhouse is shown on the playground at Freshwater Park.
Freshwater Park's ADA-accessible playground is shown with a platform and "zip line" feature